What TV can learn about scarcity from the wine industry

From Lost Remote:

I just returned from a few days wine tasting in Napa/Sonoma, and it struck me that the wine industry’s approach to scarcity-based marketing offers lessons for the social TV space. The best wineries elevate scarcity to an art form, convincing you that something must be spectacular simply because it’s hard to get. Everything they do and say is based on this principle, from wine clubs and special allocations to appointment-only tastings — not to mention the pricing and bundling strategies. Of course, you have to have something great to offer in the first place, but scarcity techniques can create loyal niche communities and drive higher sales and margins across the board.

or example, we visited Larkmead (above), a small Napa winery that fashioned our entire tasting experience around scarcity. As we sat in a beautiful scene among the vines, a salesman told us stories of Larkmead’s history — including one story of a rich New Yorker who drove up wanting to buy a case of Larkmead’s best wine at any price. The salesman explains, the intimidating New Yorker was repeatedly denied until he offered to buy several more cases of lesser-quality wine. We were allowed to taste it — a special event, we were told — and the salesman left us alone “to let the wine seduce you.”

A bit much, certainly, but the language of scarcity permeates the customer experience at wineries. Similar to the TV business, wineries are facing fragmentation — there are 7,000 of them in the U.S. and still growing every year, not to mention all the brands and varietals and vintages. Differentiation and community-building are key to survival.

TV operates on scale, not scarcity. But in a fragmenting marketplace, scale in increasingly redefined as reaching the “right audiences” that match advertiser targets. Call it “niche scale,” but TV still approaches marketing from a mass scale approach. But combining mass marketing with scarcity techniques may yield better results — in fact, we’re already seeing some examples:

TBS show premieres to Klout crowd

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from Klout with a “perk” for an exclusive first look at TBS’ newest comedy, “Men At Work.” If you’re not familiar with Klout, it calculates your influence score by looking at your social accounts and examining how people have responded to your social updates. Since I’ve connected my personal accounts — and I have a decent score — I receive occasional perks like this one, which explained that “all perks are available on a first come, first serve basis, so grab yours before they run out!”

So I clicked the link about 30 minutes after I received it, and I was surprised to learn it had already expired. Talk about scarcity: not only was the premiere only available for social influencers, but for influencers who reacted quickly. The idea is to generate excitement among those with the best ability to spread it to others, creating anticipation for the TV premiere.

“Our social media word of mouth campaigns with television partners have been very successful, so we’re very excited about expanding our work with that community,” Klout’s Ashley Jacober told Lost Remote.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Lost Remote